We are presently travelling through Western Canada, proceeding to the western US states of Washington, Oregon, California and beyond. We are conducting DramaShare workshops and also counselling with churches, colleges, schools, groups and individuals.
As we travel it is amazing how many new experiences and perspectives we encounter; the unique ministries and the forms of drama which they employ. And although most drama folks stick pretty close to traditional multi-actor drama, we have encountered unique applications which run the complete gamut from creative monologs to combining different forms of drama.
We seem to be seeing increasing use of video drama segments within the sermon. I make no bones about my feelings on video performances; they are second class dramatic presentations which lose the impact of live presentations, in my humble opinion. (That should bring immediate challenges from those who use video clips! LOL).
But in trying to defend my opinion let me run through the reasons I have been given for going to video, (and of course I will give my responses to those reasons. . . . It’s nice to get the last word LOL).
- Video clips are more efficient time-wise.
There is no question a video clip CAN BE more predictable, it SHOULD BE exactly “X” minutes and “X” seconds in length. (However in honesty that doesn’t include the ”dead air” which unfortunately happens as the clip is queued and brought down).
Pastors have told me they get frustrated with waiting for actors coming on stage, getting set up and then exiting the stage, and the fact that often the allotted time is exceeded. And I don’t blame them for the frustration. But all these problems can be easily resolved.
Firstly the script should be written in such a way as to eliminate (or at least keep to a VERY minimum) all exits and entrances from the stage. When writing scripts I build the “walk on” and “walk off” into the plot. Seeing actors walk on stage and then start the performance totally takes away from the spontaneity of the performance and simply screams out . . A DRAMA IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN! Actors must be in character and projecting the message both audibly and visually from the second the segment begins. Having the first and last line spoken off stage makes the performance more real.
I believe in a “zero use” policy when it comes to props, except where hand props can be carried on by the actors. Set props are time consuming and seldom add to the plot.
All performances, (even 30 second skits), must be thoroughly practiced and accurately timed IN THEIR ENTIRETY ON THE STAGE ON WHICH THEY WILL BE PERFORMED. So, no surprises.
- Video clips utilize professional actors.
And my question is . . is this an advantage or detriment?
The fact that the actors in a live performance are well known members of the church is a great advantage. That doesn’t mean we accept sloppy acting, and there is no reason for sub-par performances if basic acting skills are taught, and if well planned rehearsals are the rule.
But if we are truly hung up on professional performers should we extend that to its logical conclusion and replace our Worship Team with readily available YouTube video clips? . . Did I hear someone suggest replacing the sermon with a TV evangelist preacher?
Although a definite second choice, if you must revert to video clips why not tape a performance of your own drama team, you will receive the advantage of the congregation recognizing the players. We are available to assist in videotaping technique for DramaShare scripts.
Anyhow, that’s my take on drama video clips.
It’s only my opinion . .